For too long, America has used Mississippi as a whipping post, vilifying our State when there is any stereotyping related to racial relations. While some of it is historically justified, there is ample evidence in today’s world that the South doesn’t have a monopoly on hatred bred from ignorance. Racial discord exists in every corner of our nation.
For too long, we in Mississippi have allowed others to define our identity and destiny. They would point out the speck in our eye, when they could not see the beam in their own. We don’t help our cause by clinging to segregationist imagery.
For too long, we have let discomfort, insensitivity, and acrimony hinder discussions on how best to move forward – for all of our people. This challenge is not one-sided, and has often been perpetuated by all races, creeds, and classes resulting in a collective unwillingness to consider the needs and experiences of others. The road to tolerance is a two-way street. Consideration, compassion, and civility, by all, are essential to any forward progress.
For too long, we have held on to symbols of the past. For all of our progress, we continue to embrace icons that have served to reinforce typecasts unbecoming to our citizens. This disposition impedes any real progress and fosters division.
For too long, we have allowed a flag to fly that has come to represent hatred, division, and insensitivity, for many. It has become a distraction from all that is good in our State.
It is time for that to change.
The threads woven into the tapestry of our history reflect a story of blood, sweat, tears, resistance, rebellion, reform, resilience, redemption, rejoicing, promise, and character. We are rich, because of the diversity of our peoples and experiences, yet remain impoverished in spirit, as long as we let symbols of discord remain in any official capacity.
The hallmarks of decency and mutual respect hang in the balance in an America where too many are looking for reasons for outrage, rather than seeking common interests and solutions. It seems that, lately, the only thing that brings out the best in us is disaster or catastrophe. Mississippi should stand as an example on how to respond where there is need, and lead where there is opportunity.
A flag change may not totally unify us, but it will help to eliminate a perpetual hindrance to our progress as a State, and provide a revelation that, in Mississippi, anything is possible!
Gulfport City Councilman, Truck Casey, has offered a resolution calling on the State Legislature to enact a measure, providing for a new flag to represent Mississippi. With adoption of this Act, we will be replacing all banners at City buildings with the original standard of our State, the Magnolia Flag.
Submitted by Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes.